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Going Overboard on Bleaching?

Published Date

Woman with nice white teeth

Teeth Whitening and Bleachorexia

Teeth whitening products have given people the opportunity to smile brightly after years of staining their teeth with coffee, tobacco, tea, and other products that aren’t good for dental health and tooth color.

However, they’ve also given rise to a new issue that dentists have begun calling bleachorexia. Bleachorexia describes the act of over-bleaching one’s teeth to make them as white as possible. Not only do overtly white teeth look unnatural, but the act of over bleaching them can actually destroy them.

Therefore, it’s important to know the effects of bleachorexia and how to prevent them.

What Does Bleachorexia Cause?

Bleachorexia can cause several effects that range from simply uncomfortable to downright painful. The intensity of these effects depends on how often a bleaching product is abused, the starting condition of the user’s teeth, and the particular product being used.

A bleaching agent works by using peroxide to lessen the effects of stains that have built up by drinking coffee, tea, smoking, using chewing tobacco, and other habits that aren’t good for the coloring and health of teeth.

This peroxide is fairly strong and it causes teeth to become very sensitive to varying temperatures. However, it’s usually not a permanent problem if the user stops using the bleaching product. The sensitivity will typically cease soon after the bleaching agent is removed from the user’s teeth cleaning regimen.

Another common effect of bleaching is irritation in the gums and throat. This is another symptom that’s caused by the peroxide used to whiten the teeth. The gums and throat simply aren’t good at resisting corrosive chemicals such as peroxide.

It’s not a very serious side-effect of bleachorexia, but it is an annoyance and it’s avoidable by using ADA-approved products, or by having a licensed dentist perform the whitening.

The most serious side-effect of over-bleaching is tooth erosion. If teeth are exposed to bleaching agents too often and for too long, the enamel that protects teeth is destroyed. This causes a number of long-lasting oral health issues and quite a bit of pain.

After an individual bleaches the enamel off of their teeth, professional help is a necessity. It’s best to simply have a professional do the bleaching properly to avoid the effects of improper bleaching.

Dr. Shervin M. Louie, DDS: An Expert in Preventing Bleachorexia

Dr. Louie is a cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles. He recommends using only ADA-approved products for teeth whitening. It’s also recommended to use them under the watchful eye of a licensed dental expert.

However, Dr. Louie also provides his patients with ADA-approved kits that they can use at home. That removes the guesswork involved in finding an effective product. If you’re looking for professional teeth whitening services, you’ll find some of the best at Smile in LA.